I often get calls from artists who want to know more about using a radio promotion company to help boost airplay and build new audiences. Most artists believe they ought to launch into a full-blown campaign as soon as they have their hot-off-the-press CD. Some artists should do just that, others should not, depending on your career goals, of course.
Use radio promotions to identify hot markets for touring. Be prepared to tour in the markets where airplay is greatest. The best use of a radio campaign is to track the cities and radio stations that have added the recording. Plan support tour dates in those cities no later than four to six weeks after the campaign has been completed. Once you have the radio stations that have become familiar with your music, those stations become key points of contact to help promote a tour date. When you notify the station of the upcoming tour, they are likely to extend airplay, promote the date, do phone or live interviews and possibly even work with the promoter or venue as a co-sponsor. The radio station may even be able to recommend specific venues and promoters in the area at the start of your booking process.
Use the radio promotion’s campaign to leverage better dates. As you contact the various venues in the markets of greatest airplay, mention the radio campaign, the station playing the recording and what degree of airplay the recording is receiving. Knowing that radio is supporting the act can often be the persuasive factor necessary to land a date.
There are two methods of radio promotions to consider–hiring a radio promotion company or doing radio promotion on your own. Here is a set of criteria to help you decide which works best for you.
Method One: Hiring a Radio Promotions CompanyActs with intentions to expand their touring beyond their own region or to tour nationally would benefit from working with a professional radio promotions company.
Method Two: Self-Managed Radio PromotionConsider the range of your touring. If you tour within a specific region or remain close to your home base, it may prove more cost-effective for you to manage your own radio promotion. Although some regions of the country do have radio promotions companies that concentrate solely on a single region, most conduct national promotions campaigns. If you have no intention of touring outside your region, or plan to move more slowly, region by region, the expense for a national campaign may be prohibitive and unnecessary at this time. The money spent on the regions you do not intend to tour will be wasted. When touring is restricted to one area, it is easier to select tour cities and research the appropriate radio stations on your own, city by city, as you need them. Your costs are then spread out over an extended period, as are the necessary promo CDs. You are able to concentrate on each city you intend to tour. The main concern for you is scheduling time to send the promo CDs, make initial calls to the station to check on the CD arrival and then at least once a week, make a follow-up call to check on the airplay the CD is receiving. This is no small task and it is time-consuming.
The goal of any radio promotion campaign, large or small, is to create audience awareness of your group and the new recording. National promotions companies use charts to mark progress. If you choose to do your own regional campaign, your benchmark will be the number of stations that begin playing the CD. If those stations report to a specific chart, it is not unheard of for an independently, self-promoted artist’s CD to achieve chart notoriety. I’ve worked with a number of artists who conducted their own campaigns with great success and charted. They spent many hours of each day calling and then recalling. Their efforts were rewarded. Yours can be as well.
Ultimately, your goal is to use the radio airplay to boost bookings and build your fan base. Radio recognition helps both causes. Include some aspects of radio campaigning in your marketing program.
And, I invite you to learn more about this and other topics important to your career development and to sign up for my free weekly audio Biz Booster Hot Tip! Every Monday you’ll get another valuable strategy and technique that you can put to use immediately. Plus, get my Free report: 5 Booking Strategies that Work when you sign up. http://www.performingbiz.com
Jeri Goldstein is the author of, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring 3rd Edition.